RUTHIE WAS ONE OF MANY COURAGEOUS U.S.A. WOMEN.

Ruth Shannon celebrates her birthday on April 1st.

 

RUTH CHANNON WAS ONE OF MANY U.S. WOMEN WHO SHOWED

TRUE COURAGE AND INTEGRITY DURING ‘THE BIG WAR.’

 

     Not long after Nazi dictator Adolph Hitler’s attempt to conquer the world, obliterate Judaism, slaughter millions of Jews, invade Poland, Czechoslovakia, occupy Austria, bomb the hell out of Britain using der Furor’s powerful Luftwaffe air force, the Japanese launched its December 7, 1941 sneak attack on Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

     They struck with carrier-based planes sinking or damaging 19 ships, killing or injuring 2,200 American servicemen, and destroying 188 planes with negligible losses to the Japanese.

Not only did that devastating attack on Pearl get the U.S. into World War II, it revealed a dormant spirit within the men and women of our nation. It was a wake-up call that made us realize that now was the time for all good people to come to the aid of their country. It was a time for great sacrifice, a time to fight an enemy that’s threatening the freedom of what we continue to call the land of the free and the home of the brave.

     And for those reasons, I’d like you to meet Ruth Channon who was one thousands of American women to change their lifestyles by giving up their comfortable world as housewives, moms, administrators and clerks to support their nation which must go to war against a well-trained, goose-stepping enemy known as the Axis.

     At that moment in history, hundreds of thousands of men left the workplace and joined the U.S. armed forces. At the same time, millions of women from all walks of life and levels of society, forfeited personal and professional comforts to take over the jobs men  vacated.

     So Ruth Channon, an ambitious young woman, gave up her dreams to become what she whimsically and proudly calls herself, “Ruthie the Riveter.” What makes Ruthie unique is her positive attitude,her sense of being a woman, and the fact that the mother of my late childhood friend, Bumbo, turns 100 years old on Wednesday (April 1, 2015).

     For at least two years, Ruthie worked as a riveter at Hughes Aircraft Co. in Culver City, Calif.  During the war, her mother would baby-sit with Bumbo and his sister Sheila while Ruth riveted away helping build fighter planes and bombers to battle a powerful enemy that would make Darth Vader look like a kindergartener.

     When I asked Ruthie if by chance she worked on a bomber that actor Clark Gable served on as a tail gunner, she had no idea. As the story went, when German field marshal Hermann Goering learned at Gable, a well-known motion picture star, had enlisted in the American Air Corps and was a tail gunner, the notorious field marshal had offered $5,000 to kill him.

     When Gable learned of the price that was put on his head, he was quoted as saying, “Tell Goering that, ‘Frankly, I don’t give a damn!'” Of course, that line was taken from the 1939 Civil War epic, “Gone With the Wind” when Gable as Rhett Butler told Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh), “Frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a damn!” “Gone With the Wind,” is considered one of the most famous films in Hollywood history.

     But back to Ruth Channon and reality: In their own way, close to 19,000,000 women went to war replacing their male counterparts who became U.S. warriors. In 1942, the original Rosie the Riveter was discovered. Her name was Rosie Ronavita. She was a welder building planes for Convair in San Diego. To land such a riveting job, the government would explain to female applicants, “If you can use an electric mixer, you surely can operate drill.”

     Working for less money than her male replacement, women were proud to become active members of the war effort. When posters showing a sturdy female with the slogan, “We Can Do It!” became quite popular. And the significance of Rosie the Riveter became as popular as the Uncle Sam recruiting poster pointing under the slogan, “We Want You!”

     When I asked Ruthie about her going to work, leaving her two young children at home, she explained that as a single parent, her mother would baby sit with her young son, my childhood pal Bumbo, and her daughter, Sheila.

     Was doing a man’s job difficult? “Not really,” she said. “I was young and strong.” Ruthie was also one of the best looking mothers residing on Crescent Heights Boulevard. She was a young mom, with raven hair, dark brown eyes and Pocahontas cheekbones.

     Was working with a riveting guy on fighter planes and bombers exhausting? “Only when I got home at night. But my kids made everything alright.”

     Near the end of the war, Ruthie married an ex-GI named Saul Channon. Lucky for Bumbo and Sheila, he adopted them.

     Saul Channon looked like an husky leprechaun. Actually, he was a Russian Jew and the son of a rabbi. I can’t remember him without a cigar sticking out the side of his mouth.

     Mr. Channon never talked about the hell he went through as an infantryman with the 45th Armored Division; never mentioned the wounds he suffered during a firefight in Messina, Italy, in 1944. They were severe enough to buy him a ticket home. I loved the guy.

     For a long time after his return to civilian life, he remained traumatized like the combat infantrymen who return from the Middle East today. Ruthie told me, a thump in the night would send the former sergeant diving under the bed. Even action scenes in a movie, like “Return to Bataan” would cause Saul to hit the deck in a movie theatre, taking cover behind rows of seats.

     To get the trembling ex-GI back onto his seat, Ruthie said she would have to remind him that it was only a movie they were watching in a darkened theatre.

     “Most of the time it worked,” she said. “What Saul went through, made me realize how important it was for me and all those other women, to do our duty. Although Saul is dead, I still talk to him. He was a great father and husband. I’ll never stop loving him.”

     Happy birthday, Ruth Channon. Happy one hundred years of adventures in this troubled world.

   — Boots LeBaron —

        4-01-2015

 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Human-Race-Boots-LeBaron/dp/1494218526

    • Anonymous
    • April 1st, 2015

    Another great life story, nice going, Boots. Best.

    Like

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